WCR PHOTO | RAMON GONZALEZ
Msgr. Jack Hamilton heard confessions March 6 in Sherwood Park.
Thousands of Catholics experienced relief and forgiveness after confessing their sins March 6, sometimes after lengthy waits outside Reconciliation rooms and confessionals.
It seems people in the Edmonton Archdiocese wanted to take advantage of this Day of Reconciliation to seek God's forgiveness.
Many waited in line for up to two hours to see a priest, especially in larger churches such as St. Joseph's Basilica, St. Theresa and Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Sherwood Park.
Janina Zacharzewsky, 23, goes to confession whenever she gets an opportunity and said Reconciliation Day was an opportunity she was not going to miss. She likes the idea of having the whole Catholic family seeking reconciliation together on the same day.
"It's more powerful and it's different," she said on the steps of the basilica.
Marisel Zepeda looked relieved as she came out of the basilica. "I feel good because Confession is one of the most effective ways we have of talking directly to God and releasing our sins," she said.
This is the second time in her life the young Filipino woman has confessed before a priest. She arrived in Canada just seven months ago. "This is a good opportunity for me to become involved in the Church here in Canada."
She plans to come and pray every week and to confess "more often."
Osvaldo Lopetegui waited and waited at the basilica but had to leave without confessing because the lineup was long and he had to return to work. He was planning to come back later in the day.
The Day of Reconciliation is a good idea "because we need to confess our sins," Lopetegui said. "In my case I have been away from the Church for years and this event is bringing me back."
Lorraine Moody said confessing to God feels wonderful. "It's like starting all over again," the Leduc woman said as she left the basilica.
Moody is a regular churchgoer and confesses at least once a month. "But I took the opportunity today to sort of make a general confession."
She thinks having a Day of Reconciliation is a good thing because it gives everybody an opportunity to seek God's forgiveness. "Having this throughout the whole archdiocese feels very special and very powerful," Moody said. "There is a lot of prayer going on."
Nenito Amiscaray said it is important to confess our sins regularly. "By going to Confession we admit our faults and our sins and acknowledge our nothingness before God," he said. "It is a sign of humility as well."
Amanda Poapst, a parishioner at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Sherwood Park, goes to Confession every couple of months. "Confessing makes you feel like everything that's weighing you down is removed," she explained. "It's like a burden is lifted. You feel lighter."
Marie Gill is a regular churchgoer who confesses frequently but came again to confession at OLPH March 6 because this was an archdiocese-wide penitential service. "I just wanted to be a part of the whole experience."
After confessing one's sins, "there is a release of tension and you feel reconnected with Christ," Gill said.